Edible Landscaping as a Career?

entm(z7 ATL)November 28, 2010

Has anyone done edible landscaping for profit?

I am considering trying to start up a landscaping business specializing in edible plants. I think there is going to be a great need for it in the near term due to inflation.

Has anyone tried this idea? I read books from various authors describing edible plantings, but I cannot find anyone who is actually doing the installation for pay.

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Xtal(z8b Temple. TX)

I think you have a smashing idea. With a little study, you can become your local expert. I'm sure that garden clubs would love to have you to come speak to their groups. You might have to start off this way to get yourself known. Undoubtedly, there must be a radio call-in program on gardening in your area. You might want to get yourself booked. And, of course, if you had a website, that could be given out over the air. Then, the public could go check out your site and see your prices posted there. I'd plan on working my way up the ladder of success. Yes again because this will be something that will gain in popularity.

Good luck!
Xtal

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 12:05AM
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denninmi(8a)

Someone actually put flyers in mailboxes this past spring in my neighborhood, offering to do this. They would install a small garden and maintain it for $1,000 for the season. By small, I mean small -- I believe the size quoted was something like 10 x 12. There was sort of a list of things you could select to grow. The flyer also mentioned other services they could do, like design, orchard care, etc.

I kind of laughed and wondered why they bothered to put one in my mailbox -- I think they could have easily seen the roughly an acre of actual garden beds I have on my 2 acre parcel, not to mention the hundred fruit and nut trees, the greenhouses, the bird pens, and the beehives. But, ok, gotta give them credit for trying. Probably wasn't the actual landscaper doing the mailbox stuffing, anyway.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2010 at 8:41AM
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Gnomes

Where are you located?
I am a founding member of a gardeners worker Co-op. We focus primarily on edibles. It's a wonderful job and Im in zone 3! If you're in a zone that allows more of a growing season, it could be even better.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 1:45PM
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Abundant_Earth(9)

I actually do some of that as part of my business. I tend to use Permaculture as a guiding philosophy of how to design the landscape, but there is a heavy emphasis on edibles. Out here, there is definitely interest. I know several other people in Sonoma County who have similar landscaping businesses.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 9:04PM
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familyfarmer(6)

I have a 2 year old edible landscaping business in the Boston area. There is much work to be done out there, one problem you'll encounter is that the best orchard/garden on most properties is the middle of the front yard, and not everyone wants that. I've successfully squeezed gardens in behind garages and other places, however.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 4:37PM
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leira(6 MA)

familyfarmer, being in the Boston area myself, I'd love to hear more about what you're doing. I'll warn you, though, that I'm more likely to do it myself than to hire someone, however!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 3:20PM
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familyfarmer(6)

Hi Leira -
I'm new to the edible landscape forum but like it. I grow about 40 different crops on a third of an acre in Reading, with more successes than failures. This week, however, a new problem has emerged: my dog, with the help of a high snowbank, is eating a filbert tree. He already ate all 6 arms off an espalied apple! I'm going to try hot pepper spray.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 8:24AM
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lavender_lass(4b)

There are some excellent suggestions in the Mother Earth News, Guide to Organic Gardening, Spring 2011. I just got it at the store and there are some wonderful articles, including one by my favorite edible landscaper, Rosalind Creasy.

The pictures are just beautiful...using grapes on arbors, etc. but my favorite is the Black Satin thornless blackberry bush, she has growing on wires, by the roses. It's beautiful and she says it's covered with lavender flowers for most of May, than produces frut from late June into August.

I believe you could be very successful with edible landscaping, especially if you can incorporate some potager plans, to encourage people to add edibles in their front yards. Familyfarmer is right...people need new ideas on how to design their front yards...and get fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers, in the process :)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 2:10PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

There are already quite a few people with viable edible landscape businesses in Atlanta. I think before you can break into this field you really need to know your stuff. In the city, for many clients, there is an intersection between ornamental and edible. However I find that most "edible" gardeners are doing so to save money. They don't pay anywhere near as much for edible landscaping as they used to ornamental. Most clients do not seek the landscaper to regularly come and work as they do with ornamental installations either. I've been doing edible landscaping as a small business for 4 years, and will be leading Atlanta's first Edible Landscape tour (very small starting off!!!) with another GW-er, LostMan.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 11:32PM
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familyfarmer(6)

Excellent points, girlgroupgirl. A funny thing I've encountered is that many people don't know what food plants look like in the landscape. I had someone ask me "what are those beautiful plants?" It was a row of alternating red and green cabbages. People also seem to like having corn in their yard, even if the crop isn't great. Okra is edible, red okra is edible and ornamental.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 1:18PM
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oklahawg(NE OK z6-7)

The local farmer's market is the ticket. You can ease into the process, learn the ropes while its a weekend "hobby", and make a name for yourself at the market.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 4:50PM
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